Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

This oatmeal bread wins the award for best toast. It’s a hearty oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection.

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A good oatmeal bread is one of my favorite bakery items. When living in San Francisco, I would make my way to the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market most Saturday mornings. One of the things I would pick up is a loaf of oatmeal bread from Marla Bakery. I started baking my own oatmeal breads after moving to Southern California a few years back and I thought I’d share my favorite today. It’s a hearty, oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection. There’s an argument to be made that a thick slab of this bread makes the best toast in the world.
Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

The Ingredients

Let’s talk through the ingredients in this oatmeal bread. 

  • Old-fashioned Oats: Skip the instant oats, you want a more substantial flake here. 
  • Active Dry Yeast: I use this type of yeast for my non-sourdough bread recipes because, quite honestly, it’s the easiest yeast to find in most stores here in California.
  • Buttermilk: Mentioned down below, buttermilk is my go-to liquid for this bread if I have it on hand. I love the flavor of buttermilk. That said, milk and water work wonderfully as well, just use whatever you’ve got. One thing to note, if you heat buttermilk too aggressively, or too hot, it might break and curdle. It’s not the end of the world, and you can simply proceed with the recipe once you’ve cooled to the desired temperature, but if you heat gently, this can be avoided.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Your olive oil doesn’t have to be special, it should just be good tasting. Whatever you use for sautéing. That said, for fun you might experiment with using a lemon olive oil, or basil or herbed oil for an alternative flavor profile and added dimension. 
  • Honey: This oatmeal bread uses a kiss of sweetness to round out the cheesy spiciness of the cheddar and pepper. My main advice here is that a good tasting runny honey is easiest to work with.
  • Unbleached All-purpose Flour: You have a ratio of one cup of oats to 3 cups of flour here. The amount of oats really delivers a wonderful element of whole-grain heartiness and flavor. I’d recommend giving the recipe a go as written. At that point, if you want to add some whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour you absolutely should! I recommend swapping in 1/2 cup or 1 cup to start, make note of how you think it turns out, and adapt your next loaf from there. 
  • Jalapeño peppers: I like to actually taste the peppers here and find that using two chunky mediums is just about perfect. You can tweak to your comfort level of course. Go ahead and leave the seeds and veins in the peppers.
    Loaf of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Counter

How to Make Oatmeal Bread

Proof the yeast. This is to be sure your yeast is working. If it isn’t your bread isn’t going to rise. If you have end up with an inactive packet of yeast, no big deal, simply start the proofing process over.
Ingredients to make Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread on Marble Counter
Make your bread dough. This is the step where you combine your proofed yeast liquid with the remaining ingredients. I use one large mixing bowl from the start of the bread making process to the finish. One thing to keep in mind, this dough it is a little tricky to read because of all the chunks. Keep kneading  until the space between cheese cubes is smooth-ish and elastic. Also, pro-tip – you can simply wipe your mixing bowl out in between steps and use it for the initial rise as well.
Oatmeal Bread Ingredients Combined in Bowl
Let the bread dough rise. This is the initial rise and the key here is making sure your bread is cozy. If my oven has been on, I place the bowl on top of it. Or find a sunny spot. My dad has a proofing oven, and that is a dream. You can approximate one by heating your oven on low for a few minutes, turning it off, and then placing your dough in there to rise.
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread Dough Rising in a Covered Bowl
Shaping the loaf and the second rise. My main advice here is to continue to be nice to your bread dough. Gently handle. Gently press to deflate along the surface of the dough. Gently shape the dough, no ripping or pulling. Keep in mind you don’t want it pancake flat before shaping. I do a bit of a burrito roll to shape this dough – roll along the length tucking in the ends a bit. Place into the pan seam-side down.
Oatmeal Bread Dough in Metal Loaf Pan
Top with oats and bake. I like to top my breads with a little bit of whatever is inside (when appropriate). In this case the cheese cubes melt and ooze, crisp and color. They break through the surface on the top of the loaf, so I don’t feel compelled to add more. Green streaks of jalapeño are also visible, so we’re all good on that front. To add oats on top, brush the top of your oatmeal bread with a bit of well-beaten egg white, and then generously sprinkle with rolled oats before placing in the oven to bake.

Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread

How to Store

Oatmeal bread isn’t going to keep as long as, say, sourdough, but this cheddar version keeps nicely for 4-5 days. If you bake a version without the cheese it tends to get a bit dry after day 2. Toasting remedies this and extends the load another day or so beyond.

To Store: Once your oatmeal bread has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. The cheddar jalapeño oatmeal bread stays incredibly moist, the less decadent versions a bit less so. 

Oatmeal Bread Variations

  • Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread: Boost the percentage of whole grain flour. This is already a relatively hearty bread because of the amount of oats in the dough. You can make it even more hearty and wholesome by swapping out some of the all-purpose flour for a whole grain flour – start with 1 cup. Or take baby steps and start with 1/2 cup.
  • Saffron Honey Oatmeal Bread: You can take this loaf in an entirely different direction! Skip the cheese and jalapeño. Dilute a pinch of saffron in 2 teaspoons of almond extract and then stir this mixture into the 1 tablespoon of honey left after proofing. Combine some almond slices with the rolled oats added to the top of the loaf prior to baking.
  • Vegan / Dairy-free Oatmeal Bread: Skip the  cheese, use water instead of buttermilk or milk, and skip the egg wash topping prior to baking.

Slices of Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread with Butter

My Favorite Ways to Enjoy this Bread

  • Keeping it simple: toasted with a smear of salted butter and sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  • Had a slice with this carrot soup and simple salad for a perfect lunch.
  • Go the panini route, this bread loves to be toasted, use it in a panini TLT.
  • The cheddar jalapeño combo make this the perfect match for a breakfast sandwich – put an egg on it!

If you’re looking for more baking inspiration, here’s where all the baking recipes live. I love this beautiful braided onion bread, and if you’re a bit intimidated by yeast breads, you can never go wrong with a good one-bowl baking recipe

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Gingerbread Cookies

Everything you want in a classic gingerbread cookie. These are fragrant, spice-flecked, and delicious.

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Gingerbread cookies are the best. I like to bite their heads off first, then each arm, and then each leg. These are always the second cookie I include in my holiday cookie boxes, these shortbread cookies are always the first. Shortbread forever.  That said, I have a few strong opinions on how I like my gingerbread and this recipe checks every box. These cookies are tasty, classic, spice-forward and a rich shade of brown. The smell like spice-kissed magic when baking.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Icing

Let’s Make Strong Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies have a job to do. This isn’t the time for chewy, moist, or flaky cookies. When you are making gingerbread men (or women) it’s important to make a cookie that is sturdy. This is especially important if you are making large + tall gingerbread men, or using the recipe to create walls for a gingerbread house or structure. You should be able to hold you gingerbread cookies by one leg and not have the leg crumble or bend off. I’m not talking about making a gingerbread cracker here, but hopefully you get my drift. As you can see from the picture my gingerbread cookie is standing tall and straight. That’s what you’re after.
Gingerbread Cookies with Simple Icing on Sheetpan
Close-up Photos of Iced Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Big Flavor

I love gingerbread cookies with some kick. No skimping on the spices please. This recipe is loaded with a generous dose of ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, and pepper. Every bite should have a spicy tingle to it. I’ve recently started adding freshly grated nutmeg as well. Even better. As they are baking, people should flock to the oven from the far recesses of the house to have a peek at the source of the wonderful smells. You can’t be shy with the spices.
Two Rows of Gingerbread Cookie Dough Arranged on a Sheetpan

Appearance

Gingerbread cookies look best when they’re deep ginger in color, and spotted from head to toe with freckles of spices. The molasses in this recipe along with the generous amount of spices make for a nice, classic gingerbread appearance. I’m also picky about the shape and physique of my gingerbread people, always on the lookout for cookie cutters that are just the right shape for them. I love digging around for vintage cookie cutters at yard sales and flea markets. Keep your eye peeled!
Classic Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Decorating Gingerbread Cookies

I tend to opt for simplicity here. Sometimes just two little button dots are enough, or a simple slather of icing. I may do a few gingerbread without the buttons and go for one tiny white heart sprinkled with a touch of sugar sparkles instead. A little variety is nice.  And, although I tend to like a cookie with higher frosting to cookie ratio (sugar cookies for example), I’m in the less is more when it comes to icing gingerbread.
Close-up Photos of Iced Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Gingerbread Cookie Baking Tips

Getting the baking time key. Whatever you do, don’t over bake these guys. They will dry right out. If anything, under bake them just a shade. They will continue to bake for another couple of minutes once you pull them from the oven. Big cookies take longer to cook than tiny ones, keep that in mind as well.
Iced Gingerbread Cookies on a Sheetpan

How Long to Bake Gingerbread Cookies?

Knowing how long to bake gingerbread can be tricky because the dough is so dark. I end up relying on my nose as much as my eyes to know when to pull them from the oven. You can smell the spices blooming and the dough starting to toast, and that’s how to know you’re close. Look carefully at the dough where it touches the pan, that will get darkest first, once you see it starting to shift, consider removing the cookies.

A Clever Serving Idea

I was at a holiday part once where gingerbread cookies were baked onto popsicle sticks. They were arranged, bouquet-like, in a container filled with sugar. Kids loved eating them like lollipops.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Stamped with Hearts on Marble Counter

Use all the Cookie Dough

My gingerbread men and women tend to bake alongside tiny gingerbread stars, hearts, and gingerbread candy canes. All made from dough scraps. You can gather your scraps and re-roll a couple of times to use as much of the dough as possible.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Icing
Overall, I love this gingerbread recipe, especially for cookies (and beyond!). It’s a classic dough that could easily be adapted for other gingerbread endeavors. Give it a try. I should also mention you can make this dough using 4 cups of white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour. Or even go half and half – all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. Have fun!
Gingerbread Cookies after Being Iced on A Marble Counter
If you’re a huge ginger fan, these Triple Ginger Cookies and these Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies. Or browse all past cookie recipes. For other favorite holiday cookies, I have strong opinions about shortbread cookies, and love these Toasted Almond Sable Cookies.

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Classic Shortbread Cookies

Buttery, golden, classic shortbread cookies. So simple, and the best cookies on any cookie plate.

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Shortbread cookies were my first baking love. They were the first cookie I remember putting in the oven myself, always for the holidays, always wearing a kid-sized apron. I’ve developed some strong opinions on the shortbread front over the years, and I’m going to talk you through the difference between great shortbread cookies and the ones that are just so-so. Shortbread cookies can be the best cookie on any cookie tray (controversial take, I know!), and this post will walk you through how. I’ve featured shortbread many different ways on the site over the years, but love circling back to this buttery, golden, classic shortbread version.
Classic Shortbread Cookies

The Secret to Great Shortbread Cookies

I should say secrets, plural, because there are actually a few that will help bump your shortbread game from good to great.

  • Salt: Let’s start with this, it’s an easy one. A lot of shortbread cookie recipes are under salted, and that can leave them tasting flat and boring. Others call for salted butter which can be great, but it’s harder to control seasoning levels. I’m not saying go wild on the salt front, but treat it like a pillar ingredient. It is the ingredient that will bring the toasted butter, sugar, and flour into perfect focus. 
  • Thickness: For classic shortbread cookies like these, I like to go thick. I’ve found that rolling out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness is too thin, and a full-inch is too thick. I aim for somewhere in the 3/4-inch zone. This allows for golden crust with crisp buttery edge and a tender center.
    A Stack of Little Shortbreads
  • Baking Time: I’ve provided guidance in the recipe for baking time, but in reality it’s all about having an eagle eye and good nose here. Use your sight and smell. A lot of the shortbread I’ve come across over the years is too pale, nearly white. That’s not what I’m after. Shortbread that is allowed to get tip top super-golden and toasted where it touches the baking sheet, with a wash of color over the rest of the cookie is so much better. That’s how all the flavor comes to life. It’s literally the difference between butter and brown butter. Patience and attentiveness pays off here. Hover near the oven, let your shortbread get toasty.

Ingredients for Making Shortbread - Flour, Butter, Sugar, Salt

Ingredients in Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread magic happens when butter, sugar, flour, and salt come together. The list of ingredients is incredibly short, so you want to make sure each one is on point. Be sure your butter is good-quality, and recently purchased. You don’t want the butter picking up refrigerator odors. I also like to use a fresh bag of flour when baking shortbread, some flours can pick up off smells and flavors when they’ve been sitting around too long.
Classic Shortbread Cookies

Make-Ahead Shortbread Cookies

The freezer is your friend here and shortbread dough stored in an airtight container or double wrapped in plastic can last frozen for months. You can freeze the dough pre-rollout or proceed through the cutout phase. Once you’ve rolled and cut your dough, transfer the unbaked cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze before transferring to an air-tight container. Freeze until ready to bake.Cookie Dough on Baking Sheet Prepared to go in Oven

Thick or Thin?

We talked a bit about this up above, but I have a few other things to say. When it comes to classic shortbread cookies, I lean towards thick. On the other hand, if I’ve loaded the dough up with zest, nuts, spices, or other flavors, I tend to roll the dough out a bit more thinly, cutting the cookies smaller for a more concentrated experience. All of this is personal preference, of course. One thing to think about here is oven temperature. For thicker shortbread, starting with a slightly hotter oven to set the dough, and then dialing it back a bit can help prevent spread. And with smaller, thinner shortbread you don’t have to worry about that as much. When in doubt, just keep an eye on things!
A Close-up of Four Freshly Baked Shortbread Cookies

How do I keep my Shortbread from Spreading?

If you look at the photos above  you can see the difference between properly chilled shortbread dough prior to baking (circles), and dough that wasn’t chilled long enough (rectangles). The circles had their shape perfectly while the larger rectangular slabs had a bit of spread. Another hour in the refrigerator or baking straight from the freezer will likely fix that. If you’re still getting too much spread, reduce the time you’re creaming the butter and sugars, too much air being incorporated into the dough can also cause your cookies to spread. Last, confirm your oven temperature is correct, if it is running low, you’re going to have trouble.Classic Shortbread Cookies

Other Shortbread Cookie Ideas

Once you have a shortbread recipe you love in your back pocket (hopefully this one!), you can play around with many variables.

  • Skillet Shortbread: bake directly into a cast iron skillet or press the dough into a pan, marking with fork tines, then bake. In either case, mark the top of the dough with fork tines, to ensure more even baking.
  • Try Alternative Flours: If you want to introduce other flours to this recipe go for it. I’d start with 20% and make note from there. Rye flour is always a great starting point, oat flour might be nice, or buckwheat flour. I’m also curious about introducing a percentage of something like almond flour but haven’t experimented with that yet. All would add dimension and depth.
  • Sugar Crust: A lot of people love it when large-grain sugar is sprinkled across the shortbread dough before baking. You end up with a crunchy sugar crust and some sparkle.

More Shortbread!

I’ve baked and highlighted many shortbread cookies over years and learned a lot. The Rosewater Shortbread Cookies and Toasted Almond Sables are my favorites in the beyond-classic category, but they all are special in one way or another.

Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread: This is the Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet. It’s incredible for a number of reasons. Imagine a crisp, shortbread base spread thick with a creamy tahini-halva blend, finished with glossy tahini caramel. It’s brilliant, and a thin slice makes for the perfect treat.
Millionaire's Shortbread in Slices on Marble Table
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies: One of my favorites. Classic, buttery, whole wheat shortbread cookies fragrant with rosewater, flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. They have a crunchy dusting of sugar on top that provides a satisfying, sweet tongue scratch, and are punctuated with black sesame. They are the prettiest of the shortbread lot.
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies
Toasted Almond Sable Cookies // Toasty, nutty sable cookies made with whole wheat flour, sliced almonds, currents and salted butter. They are a take-off on Alice Medrich’s charming Whole Wheat Sables, published in her book Pure Dessert.
Toasted Almond Sables Cookies cut into Teardrop Shape

There’s also Apple & Carrot ShortbreadHearst Castle Shortbread Cookies, Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, and Olive Biscuit Cookies. And then, beyond that, here are all of the cookie recipes and baking recipes. Happy baking everyone!

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Whole Bean Vanilla Cookies

Snappy, small, fragrant, vanilla wafer cookies made with a whole vanilla pod. The entire thing!

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I was pulling the sad remnant of a vanilla bean from a bag of sugar the other day, and it got me thinking about using whole vanilla beans. The entire pod. I’m sure this isn’t a unique concept, but for whatever reason, it’s not something I’d ever considered before. I started thinking it through a bit, and landed on the idea of pureeing a whole pod in a food processor to use in something. Perhaps adding some sugar to bulk it out the vanilla bean a bit. After a bit of experimenting, I landed on these little cookies. I love them!
Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies

These cookies are super simple to make – snappy, small, and fragrant, with a sloppy kiss of vanilla, and a right hook of salt to balance everything out. Any tiny pieces of vanilla bean that survived the processor are a bit like having vanilla-kissed flecks of raisins cut into the dough.

Whole Vanilla Bean CookiesWhole Vanilla Bean Cookies

I made the cookies with a blend of rye and all-purpose flours, but I suspect you could make them using either all-purpose flour, or whole wheat pastry flour without any trouble. And, as far as the vanilla bean goes, the key is starting with a good pod, one that is pliable and from a reputable source. I tested these with Nielson-Massey beans because I know many of you have access, and they seem to be widely distributed.

Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies
I love sharing these as part of a cookie plate, or cookie gift box alongside other favorite cookies. You can have a look at all the past cookie recipes, or jump right into these favorite shortbread, sables, snickerdoodles, puddle cookies and the like!
Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies
Have you all come across other whole vanilla ideas/recipes? – I’ve held off googling.

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A Rustic Scallion & Chive Panade

The combination of simmering broth, Gruyere cheese, onions, garlic, chives, and sourdough combine into a decadent pot of winter magic.

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The panade recipe in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook came to my attention when a friend baked a beautiful double-version of it in an over-sized AGA dutch oven and served it at a dinner party years ago. It was the show-stopping centerpiece of a meal flanked by a beautiful winter green + chicory salad and gem-shaded glasses of wine. The combination of bubbling cubes of brothy bread and caramelized onions silkily merging with molten threads of cheese is knee-buckling. It’s the perfect example of a short list of the simplest ingredients coming together into something much more than then sum of their parts.My Favorite Panade Recipe
I’ve baked variations of this panade in the years since, and it never disappoints. It’s endlessly adaptable, meaning that you can add seasonal ingredients to suit your fancy. For example, in my case, I do a vegetarian version by switching up the broth, and I like my onions on the caramelized side of the spectrum. I’ll add whatever sautéed greens or roasted vegetables I have around. Judy also listed a range of ideas and variations in the cookbook, so if you have it (and you should!) be sure to have a glance at those for year-round inspiration. Her original had chard. I use lots of scallions in mine. In short, it’s one of those IYKYK recipes. Molly Wizenberg knew what was up way back in 2005 when she wrote about the Judy panade recipe here


I’m going to dive in and answer a number of questions here that might pop up. The ingredient list for this panade couldn’t be simpler, but the devil is in the details and navigating personal preferences.Close-up of Panade in Cast-iron Casserole

What Kind of Bread for this Panade?

The short answer is a good, chewy artisan sourdough loaf. That said, I will also argue that a lot of this is personal preference. If you bake sourdough at home, by all means, use that. Either one of these choice will likely result in a nicely structured panade with nice distinction between some of the components. The bread choice is such a big deal in this recipe, each one will impact your end result immensely. I learned the hard way when I used a more commercial sourdough loaf to make the panade one night – much finer crumb, less/no chewiness, and I’m guessing it was 100% all-purpose flour. The resulting panade broke down too far, into an unstructured slump. You want the bread to put up a fight and hold a bit of tension. Not go to mush altogether.
Panade before baking

Crust or no Crust?

There are arguments for both. The panade here retained the crust on the bread cubes. But I’ve done crustless versions before. If you decide you love a super oozy, silky panade, go crustless. If you like your panade to have more structure, keep your crust. Or go 50/50!Preparing bread in large bowl before assembling panade.

What is the Best Broth for Panade?

We tend to use whatever good-tasting broth we have around or in the freezer (defrost). I love an herby broth for this scallion and chive version, but if you’re in a pinch grab a bouillon cube or two and go from there. Judy uses a chicken broth in her recipe (which doesn’t work for vegetarians), but I’ve had great results with mushroom broth, and corn broth along with roasted cherry tomatoes and goat cheese in the panade. I’ve even used spicy bean broth.Ingredients for panade arranged on countertop.

Can I use a Different Cheeses in this Panade?

You can! I call for Gruyere, but mention in the headnote that one of my favorite versions ended up being a blend of Gruyere, Parmesan, and Pecorino cheeses. I prefer slightly assertive cheeses for the panade, with at least a portion being a cheese that oozes when melted. For example, I wouldn’t reach for a mozzarella – too mild.Sourdough bread for panade recipe.

Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

I often make the caramelized onions ahead of time. And then any other fillings that I might be able to pre-roast. 

Soupy versus Dry-ish Panades

Again, this is personal preference. After you bake panade once or twice you’ll start to get a sense of what style you prefer. You can go the soup-is route by adding more broth. Or lean into more of a stuffing vibe with less broth. The recipe below aims to hit the mark where the panade is transitioning from a stuffing-like texture, into silkier magic, not-yet-in-soup territory.
My Favorite Panade Recipe
This recipe is a warming, hearty, winter warmer. It looks so rustic, but the silkiness down in the depths is what’s incredibly surprising. It’s the ultimate comfort dish that I hope you enjoy as much as I have over the years. Thanks to Jamie & Chanda & Bonni for our SF panade dinners, we miss them (and you) so much!

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Aran’s Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies

From Aran Goyoaga’s new baking book, these buckwheat & chocolate crinkle cookies are spiked with almond butter, gluten-free, and the perfect cross between a brownie and a cookie.

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Many of you know that I consider Aran Goyoaga a close friend and colleague. We first messaged each other over a decade ago, and made an effort in the years since to get to know each other. We’ll meet up if we’re in the same city, and travel together on occasion. I love hearing about what Aran is working on and enjoy catching glimpses of her work-in-progress. She works on a lot of cool (beautiful!) projects, but recently she has been writing and photographing a book that is exceptionally close to her heart. A baking book.  Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanille Bakes Simple is the culmination of Aran’s deep knowledge of baking. She mailed me an early copy of the book and I walked straight to the oven and dialed it to pre-heat. Cookies were going to get baked, pronto. I’ll tell you more about the book down below (and share some pics), but the first thing you need to know is that these puddles of fudge-y goodness were amazing. They’re her Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies, and Aran says about them, “…these cookies are crispy and gooey at the same time- a cross between a brownie and a cookie.”
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
The flavor! I love the chocolate-buckwheat combination which adds depth and dimension working alongside a good amount of brown sugar. They’re delicious. If you rarely explore the realm of flours beyond general all-purpose flour (and want to!), these cookies would be a great place to start. Also, if you’re looking for a great gluten-free cookie recipe to take for a spin, these fit the bill. They were the first thing I baked and were much loved at the potluck I took them to.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies

Variations // Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: 

  • Double Chocolate Fennel-Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: Aran makes her cookies with a teaspoon or so of crushed fennel seeds. I couldn’t find my fennel seeds (in any of my seven spice drawers LOL), so we went for straight chocolate & buckwheat for this round. Though I imagine the anise-scented fennel seeds with the chocolate would be wonderfully fragrant and special.
  • Espresso Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: A bit obvious, but if you love a coffee-chocolate combination add a tablespoon of finely ground espresso beans with the cocoa powder. 
  • Black Cocoa Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: I can imagine replacing 1 of the 3 tablespoons of cocoa called for in this recipe with a black cocoa, making note, and dialing it up from there if you love the richness of black cocoa as much as I do.

Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Below are a few snapshots of the interior of Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple. The photography is stunning, as is the beautiful book design. I’ll weave in some thoughts between some of the spreads below.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Who is this book for? This is the book I would buy for anyone wanting one fantastic, substantial deep dive into gluten-free baking. It’s all here. You’re covered on the sourdough front. GF Breads, baguettes, brioche, bagels, babkas? Check. Cakes, pie dough, scones, shortbread, thumbprints? All there. I also love the inclusion of a holiday baking section as the final chapter in the book. Linzertorte! Hot cross buns! Rugelach! Challah! Alternately, if you’re a baker wanting to explore the wonderful realm of baking with alternative flours you’ll find much inspiration here as well.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple will be available October 26, 2021 and my pro-tip here is this – if you think this is a book you might want to give as a holiday gift, pre-order it now. I suspect it will sell fast. I’m not just saying that as a friend of Aran’s, I’m saying it as someone who is buying multiple copies to give to friends and family with gluten-sensitivity because it covers so much in a beautiful package.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Beyond the book, if you’re interested in more Aran goodness you’re in luck. She has a fantastic Instagram account, and you can keep track of her events and new projects on her site. Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle CookiesAran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Before I sign off, just know that there is a lot of chocolate in the archives, and plenty of gluten-free recipes as well. Here’s where you can find more chocolate recipes, as well as lots of cookie recipes: Don’t miss these favorites: my all-time favorite brownies, this flourless chocolate cake, please please please make this chocolate pudding, and don’t miss out on this chocolate devil’s food cake. 

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Swedish Rye Cookies

Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for anyone after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie.

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Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for holiday cookie enthusiasts (or, anyone really!) after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie. I make them with a blend of rye and whole wheat pastry flours, and also break with tradition when it comes adding a secret ingredient. Because I love the taste of toasted rye bread slathered with cream cheese, I use a butter/cream cheese combination for the dough – instead of a butter-only dough.
Swedish Rye Cookies and Powdered Sugar
These cookies can be baked into all sorts of shapes although I do like to roll & stamp them. The dough is generally easy to work with and I’ve found that cutters from super small up to medium-large in size work really well. 

Swedish Rye Cookie Dough

Other Ideas

I suspect you could experiment with other flours in place of the rye and expect good results – barley or oat flours might work well. I was also thinking about doing a savory version of this cookie with herbs and grated cheese in place of most/all of the sugar – turning it into a buttery rye cream-cheese herb cracker…

Swedish Rye Cookies before Baking

Variations

A number of you have commented over the years with successful variations on this recipe. I wanted to highlight a couple here with the hope that it might be helpful!

  • Can these be adapted to be vegan? Truman notes, “I replaced the butter and cream cheese with earth balance vegan buttery stick and tofutti better than cream cheese. This made it a bit more heart healthy, and vegan as well.” And along those lines, Keri adds, “I made the vegan version of these as well! They are delicious – I added some grated orange zest and ground anise seed, and they remind me of a less-crispy version of my grandma’s pepperkaker.”
  • KanelBulle spiced things up, “I combined this with the gingerbread idea by adding spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – and using a dark sugar that is called “molasses sugar”. It came out brilliantly (even if I don’t have the cutters to make those rings).”

Swedish Rye Cookies on Baking Sheet

I like to make these cookies not just around the holidays, but throughout the rest of the year as well tbh. If you’re here and on the lookout for holiday/ Christmas cookie recipes, I’ve compiled a bunch of favorites from past holidays into one place. Or, here if you’re simply looking for more cookie recipe inspiration. I particularly love these chocolate puddle cookies, this shortbread, these special snickerdoodles, this millionaire’s shortbread, and these triple ginger cookies.

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Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Kim Boyce’s Rosemary Olive Oil cake is incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chocolate chunks.

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This is one of my favorite cakes of the past ten years. It’s a rustic, incredibly moist, golden-crumbed olive oil cake. Flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chocolate chunks you’re looking at a perfect picnic treat. It’s one of those cakes that is both distinctive and memorable in an understated way and a breeze to make. We have Kim Boyce to thank for the recipe, and you might remember it from when I originally posted it here after Kim released Good to the Grain in 2010.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

What Makes this Olive Oil Cake Special?

The rosemary is the wild card factor here. And it’s so good. It heats up in the oven as the cake is baking and  permeates the cake in a subtle but steady way, not at all overpowering. The other thing I love about this cake is that it is such a breeze to make. You’re looking at ten minutes tops to get it in the oven. This is perfect when you’re trying to pull things together for a road trip, or picnic, or flight.

Why are Olive Oil Cakes so Good?

There are a number of reasons people love cakes made with olive oil in place of butter. You tend to get a nice, even crumb with olive oil cakes. But, in my opinion, you really see the difference a day or two after baking. Olive oil cakes tend to stay beautifully moist. Olive oil is fattier than butter with no water factor. There’s a theory that the percentage of water in butter interacts with the flour in a cake batter to form more gluten strands. This results in a more structured and less tender cake. Olive oil cakes are also great for people who forget to plan ahead. With butter cakes you’re often waiting for the butter to come up to room temperature. Not necessary when you’re baking with olive oil.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Tweaks and Variations

I’ve made a few tweaks to Kim’s recipe over the years, and you can see them integrated into the recipe below. Most are stylistic more than anything. I converted the recipe into weights for the scale-based bakers. I also decided I wanted more chocolate visible on top, and a bit of a sugary top crust. What about pan size? I wanted to bake it in a vintage baton cake pan I found in Portland a few years ago (my $1 pan!), and aside from a slightly longer baking time, it was no problem. Feel free to experiment with different pans or muffin tins, but adjust your baking pans accordingly.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

This  one of those perfect picnic, travel, or lunchbox cakes. I can’t believe it has been over a decade since I originally highlighted it here, but I love that it is still part of my repertoire. Xo Kim & congrats on the much deserved James Beard Award! xx -h

For more cake recipes, be sure to try this flourless chocolate cake, this chocolate pudding, or for a real chocolate jolt, make these chocolate brownies.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

If you’ve never baked a flourless chocolate cake, please consider this serious encouragement. Not much of a baker? This is the cake that can change your mind. It’s a classic. Nearly every great baker I know has a version in their repertoire. Likely because it’s relatively simple to make, uses a short list of ingredients, […]

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If you’ve never baked a flourless chocolate cake, please consider this serious encouragement. Not much of a baker? This is the cake that can change your mind. It’s a classic. Nearly every great baker I know has a version in their repertoire. Likely because it’s relatively simple to make, uses a short list of ingredients, and is a legit showstopper.

Flourless Chocolate Cake on a Piece of Parchment Paper
The magic of a flourless chocolate cake is the way it billows and expands as it bakes, then collapses onto itself once out of the oven. As it continues to cool the top sets and crusts a bit like meringue, and the center settles into the consistency of a sliceable chocolate mousse. I like to fold extra chocolate chunks into the batter just before baking for extra dense little pockets of chocolate. Once you get the basics of this cake down, you can use this recipe as a jumping off point for endless variations, and I talk through some of those down below.Close up photo of a Flourless Chocolate Cake next to a Knife

Let’s Talk Technique //
What is a Flourless Chocolate Cake?

The formula for many flourless chocolate cakes, as well as fallen chocolate soufflé cakes, is similar. Recipes generally call for little or no flour, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and a fat (for example olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc.). The technique goes something like this: melt the chocolate, stir in the fat, sugar, and egg yolks. Fold in the whipped and sweetened egg whites, then bake. The cake blooms as the air bubbles in the meringue expand in the oven heat. It falls once out of the oven, as the temperature drops. The resulting cake is woozy with melted chocolate, with a hint of the collapsed crust. 
 A Slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake on a Small White Plate

Flourless Chocolate Cake – What’s The Best Type of Pan to Use?

The main thing you need to know here is that the cake you’re baking is quite delicate. You can’t turn it out like a traditional crumb cake or it will likely break apart. This leaves you with a couple options. Many people (myself included until recently) will bake this style of cake in a springform pan. It works great. 

I used springform until, I noticed Aran Goyoaga lines her standard cake (non-springform) pan with a big piece of parchment for this style cake. The paper hangs over the edges of the pan (see below), and you can lift the cake from the pan using the paper. It gives the cake a rustic vibe and you can serve it right on the paper – a detail I love. I almost always go the full parchment paper route with this cake now. But you can make the call.

Cake pan lined with a Piece of Parchment Paper border=
Parchment-lined cake pan pictured above.
Cake Pan filled with Batter before Baking
Cake batter in pan prior to baking (pictured above). And the cake immediately after removing from the oven (pictured below).
Cake in Pan Fully Baked Sitting on Counter

Also, What Size Pan will Work?

Unless you’re making baby cakes, the standard size pan for this cake seems to be 9-inches, round. It’s what nearly everyone uses, probably because everyone that bakes has a 9-inch cake pan, so recipe writers tend to default to 9-inch. That said, I bake this most often in my 8-inch pan (see photo). It’s always cutting it close, but the smaller pan delivers a cake that is slightly more deep-dish and fudge-y. I’m writing the recipe for 8-inch pan, but if you’re using 9-inch just reduce the baking time by five minutes to 35-ish minutes. 
Close up photo of Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Slice Cut from It

Flourless Chocolate Cake Variations

The recipe I’m posting below is for a really amazing, straight-forward, flourless chocolate cake. It’s the straight shot, no tweaks or extra flavor frills. The base recipe – good chocolate, eggs, olive oil, salt, and sugar — is wonderful as-is. In fact, I love it like this and don’t think it needs a thing aside from a flop of barely whipped cream on the side. But! It’s so much fun to play with variations, and I’m including this list of different directions I’ve taken it over the years. 

  • Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Buttermilk Whipped Cream: Whip one cup of heavy cream until it thickens and begins expand. Gradually whip in 3 tablespoons buttermilk, granulated sugar to taste, and a small pinch of salt. Serve dolloped  next to your cake. 
  • Espresso Flourless Chocolate Cake with Boozy Whipped Cream: Add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder to your melted chocolate and proceed with the recipe of the recipe as written. Gradually add a bit of Kahlua, Bourbon, or Dark Rum and sugar (to taste) to heavy cream as you are finishing whipping it.
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake with Lemon Olive Oil: Use a lemon olive oil in place of the olive oil called for. You can add lemon zest to the cake batter and whipped cream as well. And a finishing drizzle of lemon olive oil before serving doesn’t hurt either.
  • Flourless Browned Butter Chocolate Cake: You can use melted butter in place of the olive oil if you like, you can also use beautifully aromatic, nutty browned butter.

Close up photo of Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Slice Cut from It
And a few more ideas!

  • Flourless Rose Chocolate Cake: A bit of rose water (2 teaspoons) is a nice addition to the cake batter. You can also add a small splash to the whipped cream. In either case, some rose waters are strong than others so go easy the first time around and make note.
  • Spicing up the Powdered Sugar: I love a dusting of powdered sugar as the finishing touch on this cake. You can add spices and fragrance to the powdered sugar as well. A bit of cinnamon, cloves, freshly grated nutmeg, espresso, etc. I keep some rose geranium leaves in a bag of powdered sugar for a couple days, remove, and the remaining sugar is beautiful fragrant. Have fun getting creative!
  • Nut-kissed Flourless Chocolate Cake: Add  2-3 tablespoons of ground, toasted, almonds (or other favorite nut) to the melted chocolate and proceed with the recipe. You’ll see this in many fallen chocolate cake recipes. And, if you’re going to add the ground nuts, give a boost with a tablespoon on almond extract as well
  • Black Cocoa Flourless Chocolate Cake: I’ve had in my notes forever to incorporate 1/4 cup of black cocoa powder into the melted chocolate mixture. This would lend that incredible black cocoa flavor I love. But I haven’t tested it. Throwing it out there in case any of you want to beat me to it!

Marble Table with Flourless Chocolate Cake and Two Plates with Slices of Cake
You can read more about the origins of the flourless chocolate cake, or torta tenerina, in this Florence Fabricant article from 2016, Flourless Chocolate Cake Finds an Ancestor in Italy.

I hope this cakes finishes off as many great meals on your end as is has on mine! And if you want the chocolate parade to continue, there is always my all-time favorite brownie recipe, this Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake, or the perfect chocolate pudding.

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Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake

An easy little butter cake baked in a single pan. This is a sugar-dusted, walnut-studded version, perfumed with nutmeg. That said, there are a thousand other directions you can take this cake. It’s so simple and incredibly good.

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This beauty falls squarely into the easy-little-cake category. It’s a butter cake that isn’t basic. Baked in a single pan, perfumed with grated nutmeg, and topped with well-chopped walnuts this is a versatile cake with a sugar-sweet heart and rustic rye soul. I love this cake and bake it (or variation on it) regularly. It’s a favorite for picnics and a nice alternative to the usual suspects around the holidays. The key is upping your nutmeg game. If you’ve never grated your own nutmeg, consider this an invitation.

Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake on Purple Tablecloth

Let’s Talk about Nutmeg

Great quality, freshly grated nutmeg will absolutely blow your mind. It is incredibly fragrant and powerful. Using whole nutmeg is a game changer for many things including this cake (or anything else you’re baking), ice creams, and spice blends. I have two favorite nutmegs at the moment, this Belmont Estate organic family farm-grown nutmeg from Grenada changed how I think about nutmeg, and this beautiful single-origin Anamalia nutmeg from Diaspora Co. From here on skip pre-ground nutmeg and grate your own.
Grating Nutmeg with Microplane Grater for Butter Cake

How to Grate Nutmeg

On occasion (and if you’re fortunate) nutmeg comes in the shell. Simply crack it with a mortar and pestle (or nutcracker), and grate the inner pit using a Microplane-style grater. If your nutmeg is whole, but has been pre-shelled, simply have at it with a grater.
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Slice of Cake with Whipped Cream on Purple Tablecloth

Let’s talk about Cake Pan Size

If you don’t have a 9-inch round cake pan, can you bake this cake in another pan? Let’s talk. I’ve baked this cake in an 8-inch pan a number of times, but it can be a bit tricky. You need to make sure the center of the cake sets, and this takes quite a bit longer compared to the 9-inch cake pan. If you want to use a square pan, please report back – I always bake this cake round. You can certainly make a series of mini-cakes with the batter, just dial the baking time way back and keep a close eye on things. When the centers of the cakes set up you’re all good.
Ingredients for Butter Cake arranged on Marble Counter

What if you Can’t Find Rye Flour?

I encourage you to play around with the flours in the cake. I like this cake just a shade rustic, and the rye flour brings that in spades. If you think you might like a slightly lighter crumbed cake, dial back the rye and dial up the all-purpose flour. If what you have is all-purpose flour, you can use about 1 1/3 cups of that. If you have whole wheat flour instead of rye, give that a go. I haven’t tried this cake with any of the GF flours available, but if you use one of those, let us know how it turns out.

Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake Cooling on Rack near Window

Butter Cake Variations

Pictured above is the cake straight from the oven (above).  I’m posting the basic recipe down below, but once you decide it’s a cake you love, you can take it in many different directions.

  • Powdered Sugar: I like to give this cake a heavy dusting with powdered sugar before serving. To be honest, I tend to use more powdered sugar than you see in the pictures here. I recommend really going for it, but I wanted you to be able to see some of the walnuts peeking through in the photos. Think about adding something to the sugar. Drop citrus rinds (or zest) that you’ve allowed to dry for a couple days into a baggie with powdered sugar and let it infuse in the coming days. Makrut lime is a favorite, and you can’t go wrong with meyer lemon, or classic orange. Or grind up a few threads of saffron, and combine this saffron dust with the powdered sugar. If your powdered sugar gets clumpy at any point, use your finger to rub it against the strainer for even dusting across your cake.
  • Nuts: I go all in with walnuts here, but can 100% get on board with pistachios, pecans, almonds, or walnuts for this cake. I’ve done versions with a blend when I’m low on any single nut variety. Well received! The main thing is to give the nuts a fine chop. This keeps things light & even on top of the cake, and makes for easier and more precise slicing.
  • Flours: We talked about ways to explore different flours up above. Even if you don’t have rye flour, give this cake a go!
  • Spices & Extracts: Another way you can make this cake your own is through spices and extracts. Let’s brainstorm! I bet a triple-vanilla version would be really good. You could add a splash of vanilla extract, a bit of vanilla paste to the batter, and a bit of vanilla powder to the powdered sugar on top. For my flower lovers out there, a rose cake would be gorgeous. In this case, I might actually scale back the rye flour, and use more all-purpose flour for a lighter cake overall. I’d add a splash of rose water and some freeze-dried raspberries to the batter, and then crumble some dried rose petals over the powdered sugar before serving. And if you’re serving with a bit of whipped cream, go ahead and boost that with a kiss of rose water as well. I could go on all day – but I hope this gives you some creative inspiration.

Slicing Walnut Nutmeg Butter Cake on PLatter
Have fun with this one. It’s a fun, buttery cake canvas to experiment with. If chocolate is more what you’re craving, be sure to try my all-time favorite brownie recipe, this Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake, or the perfect chocolate pudding (no joke!).

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